Life as a B.Ed. Student in Manitoba
Hi, we are Mary Bertram and Taryn Deroche and we are both Bachelor of Education students at the University of Manitoba. After speaking to students from other universities across Canada we noticed there are similarities and differences to be found in teacher training programs across the country. We thought we would share some thoughts and insights into the Bachelor of Education program we are currently enrolled in.
Photo: Google Maps
Currently, the B.Ed. program at the University of Manitoba is under review, with a new program planning to be implemented in the next few years. Until then, the B.Ed. program is an After-Degree program that is organized into specific education streams: Early (grade k-4), Middle (grade 5-8), and Senior Years (grade 9-12). In addition to these three streams, they also offer Weekend College program (grade 5-8) and an Integrated Bachelor of Music / Bachelor of Education program. The number of teacher candidates accepted to the program annually is as follows: Early (70), Middle (70), Senior Years (140). The Weekend College program accepts 35 students every three years.
When you apply to the B.Ed. program, you must have a teachable major and minor that satisfies your stream selection. In addition, applicants must also satisfy breadth requirements in English and/or French literature, social studies (history or geography), and science/math. For your application, you must write a statement of interest in teaching, as well as participate in a written skills exercise (essay on an assigned topic in 45 minutes). Three referees or references are also necessary and they must fill out specific forms sent directly to admissions for review. However, points for admission are based solely on GPA (45 points) and the written skills exercise (20 points).Both of us are in the Early years’ stream, which allows us to become specialized to teach kindergarten to grade 4. However, once we are certified teachers we are allowed to teach any grade from K – 12. Our program takes two years to complete in Manitoba. With each year consisting of 9 weeks of classes starting in September followed by 6 weeks of practicum experience and then again with 9 weeks of classes starting in January followed by 6 weeks practicum experience. We spend the two years attending lectures with the same 35 students commonly called your cohort. Once you are in your practicum school you are usually with two or three other students from the University of Manitoba B.Ed. program. During our time in the B.Ed. program we have been required to take courses in: Educational Psychology, Aboriginal Education, Special Education/Diversity Education, Social Studies, Literacy, Math, Science, Technology, School and Society, Art and Drama, Physical Education, and Music. This broad base of academic subjects has allowed us to develop the generalist skills required for teaching in the elementary grades. Every effort is made to place students with experienced teachers as to provide the best possible guidance to teacher candidates. In addition to the cooperating teacher there is a faculty advisor who is there to support and guide students through their practicum experience. Both of us have been lucky enough to be partnered with amazing cooperating teachers and faculty advisors who have helped us grow into the best teachers we can be. For us, we believe the best part of our B.Ed. program is the
photo: Moleskineh by Amir Kuckovic, FlickrCC.net
relationships that we have been able to establish personally and professionally within the faculty, our early years’ cohort, advisors, and with our partnered practicum schools. Although we only have four teaching blocks, with two in each practicum school, we believe that our consistent presence within each school gives us the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with administration, colleagues, collaborating teachers, and most of all our students. Within our program itself, there are faculty members at the University of Manitoba who we hold so much respect for because of the initiatives that they take as teacher educators. They inspire us, intimidate us, and help push us to achieve success, try new things, and develop our philosophy as teacher candidates.
As young professionals we are able to become members of various special area groups for teachers in Manitoba. Once a year all the teachers in the province get the day off to attend professional development workshops held by these various organizations. We are both members of the Manitoba Association Multi-Age Educators (MAME, multiagemanitoba.org) and have greatly enjoyed going to various workshops they have held this past year. We look forward to exploring the other special area groups in the coming years as we progress in our teaching careers.
One of the things we have both found beneficial to our professional development in the field of education is learning about the online education community. Perhaps one of the most promising aspects of the use of social media for professional development is the ability to work collaboratively with educators from around the world. Without social media these partnerships would almost certainly be impossible or very difficult to establish. We have both joined Twitter in an effort to connect and learn from educators from around the world.
Although neither of us were expecting much, we have both found Twitter to be a great way to gather resources, get new ideas and meet other teachers! We have also found that reading other educators blogs is a wonderful way to start thinking critically about our own practice as educators. In addition to this Mary has found that blogging about her educational experiences has given her insight into her growth as a professional. We encourage all education students to start exploring the online education community and join in on all the amazing conversations that are happening each and every day! With our initiative to be more than just B.Ed. students, we have been able to connect with each other, fellow teachers across the nation, and to the global education community as a whole. As we both prepare to look for jobs as teachers we have started to look back at our program and are thankful for the wonderful experiences we have had and the opportunities we have been given.
See us on #ntchat every Wednesday at 7:00pm CST! If you want to learn more about the Bachelor of Education program at the University of Manitoba then check out: umanitoba.ca/education.
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